Actresses often lament the paucity of good acting roles for them, particularly as they get a bit older. One director who has a good track record for substantive female characters is Phillip Noyce, whose “The Giver,“ featuring the venerable Meryl Streep, opens next week. Noyce also directed 2010’s “Salt,” which features Angelina Jolie as a stellar government agent whose allegiances and loyalties are unclear until the very end.
Is Evelyn Salt a loyal American who has been betrayed by her colleagues, or is she a devious and demonic Russian spy? This is the question that undergirds the plot of “Salt.” A captured Russian spy outs her as a double-agent who was trained in the former Soviet Union from her childhood to undermine the United States. Of course, she denies this accusation, but Evelyn goes on the run because she thinks her husband may be in danger. Two of her colleagues, Ted (played by Liev Schreiber), and Peabody (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), attempt to track her down, while trying to figure out whose story to believe.
Jolie’s talents include excellent physical acting abilities, and the “spy on the run” premise gives ample opportunities for her to show off this side of her acting. Although they are not always realistic, the action scenes in “Salt” are jaw-dropping. In one of the movies best scenes, Evelyn jumps from car roofs on the freeway as she is on the run. The movie has a lot of intense and well filmed fight scenes and Jolie, of course, always prevails.
The movie has an interesting screenplay. It is unpredictable, and we are never quite sure until the end who the heroes and villains are.
Angelina Jolie is, as always, a great action hero. She is often intimidating, yet she is also vulnerable when she thinks her husband is in danger. Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor are equally good as her colleagues who are not sure what is going on with her.
“Salt” is a superb choice for fans of action films and fans of Angelina Jolie.